The Occultarum

The Things In The Void

Magic has always existed in the world. We should've paid more attention to where it came from.
    Beyond our reality lies an endless void. A hollow infinity, where all the detritus of the universe comes to rest as faded memories; planets, galaxies and gods alike end their days here. This is where the Occultarum dwell; parasitic spirit-things that gnaw and corrode all things in the void. It is their home and prison, unable to pass beyond the shroud that cloaks the void.   So it had been for countless aeons until humanity's striving, grasping and fumbling for power pierced the shroud. Like a drop of blood in the water, it drew hungry predators. The Occultarum close to the rift abandoned the bones they had been gnawing clean for endless eternities and sought this new, enticing light.    

Gods and Daemons

 
In my dream, I saw a vast land with soil that pulsed like meat and clouds sang and howled. When the earth split beneath my feet like a bloated corpse bursting and revealed that terrible eye, I woke up.
    The Occultarum are creatures of another world, unshackled by the laws that govern mankind's cosmos, formed from thoughts, dreams and nightmares. They range in size from town to mountain, with some contracting or expanding as they are observed. Many are akin to a patchwork quilt of different kinds of flesh, bone and less decipherable viscera.  
The Moon of Endings is an Occultarum of spherical shape and several miles apart in diameter, though they shrink by half when they turn themselves inside out. One side is covered in obsidian-like rock, while the other is a singular, fractal maw. The Moon of Endings can swallow itself and turn inside out, taking the shape of an eye with tentacles.  
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by Getza
    The corpus of the Occultarum is only half-real, warping and twisting as they move. Past the Shroud, they are invisible to human eyes but their lurking presence have not gone completely unnoticed. Dream-visions and nightmare-quests are not exactly intentional projections by the Occultarum but a consequence of their presence. The most cunning among them have turned dreamers into cultists, but most see humanity as insects... And meals.   The mind of the Occultarum do not work as those of humans. Each body has a multitude within it that the creature can fracture and split as the situation demand. A single Occultarum is able to puppeteer a multitude of sub-divisions of itself. Each shard split apart have their own mind and personality, inevitably consumed back into the whole.  
Humanity's piercing of the Shroud have opened the Occultarum to a new sort of hunger: human emotions and souls provide such a colorful banquet compared to the bleak celestial cadavers of the Void. They haunt the Void near the mortal world and feed on anything that slips through the crack. And the cracks grow wider and wider.   No longer do human souls go to where they once departed, but are consumed as soon as they leave their dying flesh.
   

Humanity &
The Occultarum

  It was when humanity first mastered magic that the Occultarum were drawn to the world of mortals and began to lurk among them like parasitic phantoms. As the Great War drags on and with magic's use reaching an industrial scale, the shroud weakens. The nightmares grow wilder and more maddening. The Occultarum begin to find ways to manifest in the world and their presence grow too strong for mankind to ignore.   Humanity's fate hang in balance; religious frenzy threatens the fabric of society with their unshrouding, while others will seek to turn the Occultarum against their foes in the great war. Occultarum hunger and more are tempted towards the growing rift.    

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The Covenant


  The Occultarum do not work together, but act more like a pack of starving beasts all scavenging the same corpse. Meetings between them end with either a cannibalistic feast or wounded retreat.The cataclysmic release of energy from such battles cause earthquakes, storms or other disasters in the world of mortals.   Until now. The unprecedented feast that humanity has lain out before them have seen some of the Occultarum.. Change. For the first time since, Occultarum have joined together in a Covenant and become like wolves. They have realized that should humanity's light flicker and wink out, the feast will end.   This seem more possible then ever as the Great War drags on. What was a luring light in an ocean of darkness has become a bonfire as humanity draws ever-more magic into the world. Occultarum from far into the void are drawn to the light with hunger. Dreamers wake screaming as more and more press against the shroud with jagged claws and ravenous maws.  
The Covenant must decide: how far will they go to protect their banquet?
 
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To Kill A God

  The Occultarum are not immortal, though they themselves have only a limited understanding of their own weakness. While mundane weapons and even explosives have little effect on their unreal corpus, electricity and fire can both tear them apart if applied with sufficient quantity and ferocity.    

Magic

  The Occultarum warp the fabric of reality where they are and magic becomes more difficult to wield in their presence. When the wind turns into screams and the ground warp to a bed of skulls, keeping ones focus on the spell can be a challenge.


Cover image: by Loic Muzy

Comments

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23 Aug, 2018 17:04

Steampunk, zombies and C'thulu, what more can I ask for? If the Great War's magic is helping the Occultarum get in and cause havoc, wouldn't the combatants do a cease-fire to deal with the problem first? Or do the elites relish the idea of having their souls devoured by Eldritch Gods, like in Doom 2016?

23 Aug, 2018 17:14

Right now no one* knows about the Occultarum or their soul-eating funtimes. When they do.. All kinds of possible plots!   Like Doom 2016 is possible too: sudden, earth-shattering revelation does funny things to people. Others, especially powerful people, just think they're too clever and can turn everything to their advantage, so it's entirely possible some of them think they could weaponize the Occultarum (they are wrong, pretty much).   And hey, thanks for reading and commenting! :D   (* almost no one)

25 Aug, 2018 09:17

Ah who doesn't love a bit of eldritch horror? Are there any benevolent Occulatrum? From what you have described they seem to be universally sapient, so do they all get along or do they war against one another? And how likely is it that even being in the proximity of two Occulatrum would be catastrophic to humanity?

25 Aug, 2018 09:31

The "Covenant" sidebar goes into some of the details about that. Short story, there's not strictly speaking any "benevolent" Occultarum, but there's a group of them who have agreed to stop trying to kill each other and work together: while other Occultarum are more akin to predators and parasites, the Covenant have enough foresight to more view the mortal world like a cattle-farm.   So... Not exactly benevolent, but they have a vested interest in humanity's survival.   As stated in the sidebar, usually, they do not at *all* get along. Some, of the same "birth", sometimes put up with each other, but the Covenant is unique in their cooperation.   Well, it's going to be a localized catastrophy, at least. :D It's sort of like hanging out with Cthulhu on one side and Yog-Sothoth on the other. It's not going to be great, and if they start rampaging, it'll probably lead to some local natural disasters. Though, as always, not so much that a plucky band of heroes can't endure it and do something about it.

25 Aug, 2018 09:59

This article includes some of the best art work i have seen yet! I cannot wait to read more! Followed for sure!

28 Aug, 2018 13:39

Glad you enjoyed the read!

25 Aug, 2018 22:10

I'm liking the Lovecraft-vibe you've got going on here, but you touch on certain points that I feel would benefit from being explained further; such as the "intelligent" occultarum and the cultists they inspire.

26 Aug, 2018 07:03

What kind of information would you like to see added on the intelligence part? :)   I could look into adding an example cult in the text somewhere, for sure...

26 Aug, 2018 16:13

A couple prominent individuals and their M.O.'s would be juicy bits of lore for sure.

2 Sep, 2018 13:39

I ended up writing an entire article on the matter, for the "Organization that plays a part in the story" prompt.  

The Crucible
Organization | Nov 25, 2018
  :)

25 Aug, 2018 22:53

Grammar Comments: "Beyond the shroud that shield our reality lie an endless void." I feel this reads a bit weird, and might come across better by saying "... shields our reality lies ..." "... gnawing clean for eternities upon eternity and ..." This seemed a bit redundant. Perhaps just say "... gnawing clean for eternity." "...my feet like bloated corpse bursting..." I felt there may be an "a" missing before the word bloated. "Every Occultarum, though some broods of them share similar traits." To me, this felt a big like an unfinished thought. I wasn't sure what to offer to improve it. "Each body has a multitude within it that fracture and split as the situation demand, with a single Occultarum able to puppeteer a multitude of sub-divisions, each with their own mind and personality that is later consumed back into the whole." This is a run-on sentence and could definitely benefit from being broken up.   Overall opinion: Excellent article. I really enjoyed reading it and it really hit my love of the Lovecraftian universe. Except for the few things I pointed out above, the article was actually very well written. I look forward to seeing more!

25 Aug, 2018 22:55

felt a bit* I kind of wish there was an edit button. It can be hard to proofread in such a tiny comment window. :P

26 Aug, 2018 07:33

That's awesome feedback, thank you. Nothing like a second set of eyeballs to help you see all the things you missed! Thanks! :D   1. Yeah, I couldn't get it to work, so I rewrote it a bit. Cut it down, added the mention of a shroud at the end of the paragraph   2. Cut it down to endless eternities instead. Might still be redundant, but I thought it was flavorful   3. Whoops missed an "a", fixed!   4. Removed the entire unfinished thought bit.   5. Broke it into pieces and rewrote it a bit :)   Thank you!

26 Aug, 2018 00:10

ooh, wonderful formatting! I love the mix of quotes and images, and you have wonderful use of the sidebar! I love the quote there involving the banquet, it's a wonderful way to half...humanize the force, If that sounds right? The entire article is very eerie, and you've done a good job at making them seem Other and Wrong.   The only crit I have is for some lines in the beginning:

Beyond the shroud that shield our reality lie an endless void. A hollow infinity, where all the detritus of the universe comes to rest as faded memories; planets, galaxies and gods alike end their days here, frozen in eternity.
It feels like it should be shields our reality; planets, galaxies, and gods alike. But that's just me! Wonderful work!

27 Aug, 2018 06:34

Thanks! :D   I rewrote that bit, it wasn't quite clicking. Have a read. :)

21 Sep, 2018 16:13

Ooh, very nice rewrite! Sometimes it just takes a bit before we get the voice we want. Great job! : D

26 Aug, 2018 01:04

This article is brilliant, knowing the challenge i honestly cant wait to see what else is to unfold from this. The covenant of unholy eldritch horros and humanities reckless use of magic only driving them deeper in the misery set a perfect stage for a battle over life and death (or consumtion)

26 Aug, 2018 07:02

Thank you!   The term "over life and death" becomes a bit ironic too when humanity has millions of undead on their side.. :D

26 Aug, 2018 08:04

Nice! I like this being !

28 Aug, 2018 13:39

Thanks! I'm glad you like 'em!

26 Aug, 2018 23:31

We need articles on the cults they may or may not spawn. Just cults in general. PLEASE.

27 Aug, 2018 06:32

Coming soon to a wound in reality, bleeding with ichorous pollution, near you!

29 Sep, 2018 15:03

I have never been a big Cthulu fan. Probably a matter of taste. But it does fit your world well. Maybe state a bit clearer how magic is performed, and hint there that it draws power from the occultarum. If that's not the case, it seems pretty random why they would suddenly find interest in humanity when they started doing this magic thingy.

3 Oct, 2018 17:47

This looks like an AMAZING article, Qurilion at it again. I've got a couple of questions (as always). First of all, are all of the Occultarum part of the covenant? What would the covenant do "to protect their banquet"? How are the combatants in the Great War reacting to the development of the Eldritch Gods? Does humanity currently have the capability (WWI, as I have read in other articles) to have the fire and electricity to take down even one of the Eldritch abominations? How many can they take down? What percentage of the total (minimal, slight, half, a lot, all of them even) can they take down? Are they more fixated on fighting each other than fighting the gods?

12 Feb, 2019 15:00

Thanks!   1. No, only some. 2. Kill and eat each other. 3. They are, as of now, mostly unaware. Except for possibly [REDACTED]. 4. They'd have to do some pretty fast thinking to make the weapons they need to take down an Occultarum.   The rest I can't really answer. They don't know about them, for one, and Occultarum are as much forces of nature as anything: how many hurricanes can you shoot down? :D